UCL Psychology and Language Sciences




We aim to develop new methods, new data sources and new evidence to investigate risk-taking and risk perception in finance. We have an ongoing project with the Financial Stability group at the Bank of England where the aim is to see if we can use computer analysis of texts (public databases of texts and internal bank documents) to identify sentiment shifts in financial narratives.  

Narrative Decision-Making

We aim to use a combination of methodologies to understand the role of narrative in managing emotion during decision-making. Using interview, experimental, algorithmic and ethnographic techniques we study the development, spread and changing attractiveness of economic and other narratives - for example concerning growth opportunities, risk threats, solutions to the Euro crisis, unemployment rates or climate change. We know little about the characteristics that make particular narratives attractive or otherwise or how some narratives spread and become viral phantastic object narratives, or not. Several projects are under development to pull together and advance knowledge in these areas.

Asset Management

Building on our team's research in fund management we are planning several studies to explore some of the ways modern asset managers make decisions and the pressures uncertainty places on them, pension funds, and financial consultants with implications for financial stability and long-term investment and savings. We are developing studies of fund manager performance, fund selection, and trustee decision-making.     

Big Text Data

Awareness of the revolution in data availability has sparked many initiatives to produce smarter decision-making. Our interest is in applying our new algorithmic techniques to the analysis of text data conceived as conviction narrative data. We partner with business and other organisations to explore hidden value in their archives, using a theoretically driven rather than a data-mining approach    

Policy-Making Uncertainty

Uncertainty creates emotional conflict and significant difficulties for decision-makers in business and government. We are working with the Open Society -Counterpoint Bridges Project, which is designed to make policy makers more aware of the impact of complexity and uncertainty on their decisions and the potential limitations of many current approaches to risk. Globalisation has increased connectedness and complexity uncertainty. We plan historical and cross cultural studies to bring together what we know about the different ways societies cope and its consequences.

Risk Assessment in Organizations

There are risks you anticipate and those you don't. We examine risk from an uncertainty perspective and using our concept of conviction narratives and the new algorithmic methods we have developed study the subtle ways risk can build up in organisations, due to the way uncertainty is being managed.